Summary: Message 1 in a series on spiritual disciplines. I discuss the first and second habit. The first discipline deals with the need regularly set aside time for God. The second is the need for regular declarations of submission.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Who’s the Boss?
When we stop moving, we stop developing and begin to atrophy. Without exercise the muscles deteriorate. The spiritual muscles are the same way. When we stop spending time and communicating with someone, the relationship stops developing and being to deteriorate. Relationship with God is the same way.
Just as there are exercises and nutrition that foster physical growth so there are spiritual exercises that will facilitate spiritual growth. Just as there are certain activities that deepen relationships, there are spiritual activities that will deepen our capacity to relate to God.
Today’s church has replaced these tried and tested (not to mention Biblical) habits for less demanding things that have little actual value when it comes to genuine life change and dynamic relationship with God.
Merely sitting in a health club without exercising will never bring greater health so coming to church without engaging the necessary exercises will never bring spiritual health.
Being in the same room with another person and not communicating will never develop relationship. Neither will just attending church bring us closer to God. It is my desire to offer the exercise equipment and the relationship tools to incorporate in our lifestyle that will foster a healthy relationship with God and ultimately a transformed life. You cannot be in His presence without experiencing transformation.
TWELVE HEALTHY HABITS FOR A HIGHER WALK
• Take time out with God (Solitude and silence)
• Report for duty (Submission)
• Clear the decks (Confession of sin)
• Renew our thinking (Interaction with Scripture)
• Affirm our trust (Faith)
• Respond to God with words and actions (worship, thanksgiving, praise, obedience)
• Talk to God (Prayer and fasting)
• Give it all you got (Sacrifice & suffering)
Sacrificially serve others (time)
Sacrificially give (resources)
• Eliminate the clutter (Simplicity)
• Join the team (Connection with people)
• Spread the news (Sharing Christ)
• Watch you back (Spiritual Warfare)
I want this to be a very practical series.
I want to provide the materials and tools to build a spiritual journal and “exercise” program to develop a deeper relationship with God.
Habit 1 Solitude and Silence “Devote Time with God”
Purpose: "Be still (cease striving) and know God". Come away, come out of the rush of life in order to refuel and refresh at the fountain of life.
Take the time to learn and develop habits that increase our capacity to relate to God. No relationship can survive let alone flourish without specific time devoted to relating. "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19
The word translated “refreshing” comes from the word “ana” (up) and “psycho” (breath)
Times to “catch your breath” come from the presence of the Lord. “presence” face, countenance, appearance, sight. Only when we get a glimpse of Jesus can we get a “good breath” in life.
Length 1 – Morning and Evening
Length 2 – Weekly Extended periods (three for maintenance, more for growth)
Length 3 -- Quarterly Day for the Lord
The main goal for any of these times of silence and solitude is time alone with God. We need to take time for silence and solitude to let the “silt” in our lives settle to the bottom enough to see more clearly. This is why it is one of the Ten Commandments. We need to institute a Sabbath to the Lord.
Habit 2 Submission
The prominence and need for this first habit is clearly demonstrated by James (3-4). Trying to drawing near to God with a rebellious heart is futile. God desires obedience over sacrifice. There were those who prayed and sang songs with enthusiasm.
"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. "When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? "Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. "I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. "So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. Isaiah 1:11-17